One of the nicest things about summer break is having the time to catch up on music from markets I love but don’t always follow with as much discipline as K-pop. Ado’s New Genesis (新時代) may have been released last month, but I’d be remiss not to write about it regardless of how many days have passed.
Like most, I was introduced to Ado via her 2020/21 mega-hit Usseewa and then again through follow-up Odo (which I prefer). Their rough-and-tumble sound isn’t always to my taste, but there’s no denying Ado’s incredible energy and talent. She’s an unconventional superstar by Western standards, never revealing her actual name or face. Instead, her videos present avatars similar to what you’d see in vocaloid music. I’ve always found it hard to connect with this approach for the same reason I’m not a huge fan of animated movies. But again, it’s hard to resists when the talent and songs are there.
With New Genesis, the talent and song definitely shows up. The track sees Ado performing as “Uta,” star of the upcoming anime One Piece Film: Red. This alter-alter ego allows her to make a sonic shift, bringing in more electronic textures to support her powerful, gritty vocals. The result is transcendent, delivering tons of drama within a taut pop framework. To me, her voice has never sounded more dynamic – guttural and angelic in equal measure. The bright synth lines echoing her refrains provide a perfect balance. The entire arrangement is anchored by footfalls of percussion, giving the track a larger-than-life, battle-ready heft. It all culminates in a glorious chorus that’s cathartic and grand and seriously satisfying.